The Augustinian Church in Vienna is still very much a working church. When I’m lucky enough to visit in December, I look forward to the little Christmas market held by church ladies (and gentlemen) in the adjoining chapel, which they call the crypt. It has tall windows, so it doesn’t seem very crypt-like. I don’t think there is an altar, so maybe it is not really a chapel, at least not now.
The center of this cozy room houses the tomb of some notable, not a Habsburg but still important. I always check his name, and I always forget. I think he was an illustrious general.
Surrounding his very grand tomb, the church folks set up tables with ornaments and some handcrafted items. They sell CDs of the many musical performances the church is famous for. They sell coffee, loaves of bread and cookies, too. There’s nothing like a bake sale to make a tired traveler feel at home.
The occupant of the tomb has his very own permanent mourner to keep him company, a life-sized marble lady standing sadly beside his resting place. Still, I think this person, whoever he was, must enjoy the seasonal cheer of twinkling lights, glowing candles, cinnamon buns and fresh coffee. Easter is in Vienna is almost as big a holiday as Christmas. I imagine the church ladies and gentlemen have a springtime market set up in the chapel right now, selling brightly colored eggs and sprightly tulips.
Join me next time for more explorations in the art and history of Europe!